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  • Poland is ready to join the most ambitious EU defence policy plans – the Minister of European Affairs Konrad Szymański declared on Tuesday, adding however that in order to do so, certain conditions must be met.

     
    The Deputy Foreign Minister took part in a meeting with his EU member state counterparts in Luxembourg on Tuesday in preparation for the EU summit on Thursday and Friday.


    The heads of state and government are due to decide at the summit about strengthening cooperation in the field of defence.

     
    "Poland is ready to join the most ambitious plans for EU defence policy, provided that the political conditions and material conditions for financial support for the defence industry are met," Deputy Minister Szymański said.

     
    He explained that political conditions are the right formulation of EU defence policy in the context of cooperation with NATO.


    Poland has long been of the opinion that EU efforts must not duplicate the activities of the North Atlantic Alliance.


    Another requirement put forward by Poland is to properly balance the definition of threats, given that those in the East of Europe are different to those in the South.


    The deputy minister explained that in order for the EU defence policy to make sense, it must reflect both aspects of the security challenges well.

     
    Poland’s third condition is the possibility of financing EU projects implemented by our arms companies.


    Diplomats pointed out earlier that the potential opening up of our arms market, which would involve common EU purchases, could have a negative impact on our companies.


    "We see opportunities for the EU to play an important role in its budgetary and industrial policies, but we want the Polish defence industry to have equal access to EU support," the deputy head of the MFA said.

     
    The Polish government would like the European Defence Fund to finance research and innovation with regard to defence equipment and defence technologies and then use potential joint purchases of equipment from interested members states to serve all the countries concerned.


    "Poland is certainly one of the countries that wants to not only keep but also develop the defence industry, so we are trying to make sure that the fund is constructed properly" the deputy minister stressed.
     

    Presented at the beginning of June by the European Commission, the European Defence Fund, which is due to be backed by the heads of state and government, will provide €500 million for 2019 and 2020 under a special programme on defence and industrial development. After 2020 it is due to provide €1 billion a year.


    The proposal assumes that it will provide leverage for national funding, giving it total investment in defence capacity of €5 billion per year after 2020.
     

    Diplomats reported that during the meeting on Tuesday, representatives of France and Germany were particularly keen on the ambitious approach to tighten EU military cooperation.


    The document, which is due to be adopted at the EU summit this week by heads of state and government, will focus on the defence fund architecture.


    "We want to have the clarity and legal certainty that the fund will be available to the Polish defence industry, which means not only the introduction of such provisions that will promote international cooperation, preferably of a interregional nature, but also the opening of a fund for cooperation with small and medium enterprises," Deputy Minister Szymański said.

     
    He stressed that Poland would pay close attention to this because the fund could potentially operate very large sums.


    He pointed out that the government would not want the fund to lead to the monopolization of the European arms industry.


    In his opinion, following the summit meetings one can say that our position is well understood by other states, not just those in our region.

     
    Draft proposals for the summit also provide for the creation of a permanent structured cooperation within the framework of common security and defence policy (PESCO).


    Closer defence cooperation is expected to show that the EU, despite differences and crises, is further deepening its integration.


    The step to be decided upon by the EU is significant, especially in the context of Brexit, because the United Kingdom has for years hampered closer cooperation between member states in the field of defence.

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